Puzzle Craft by Chillingo Ltd icon

Puzzle Craft ($0.99) by Chillingo Ltd is a simulation game where you will have to build a thriving city from scratch. But to keep things fresh and interesting, this game combines simulation and resource management with match-three puzzler for the ultimate addictive experience. Say hello to Puzzle Craft.

I, for one, love a good simulation game (think of Mega Mall Story or Game Dev Story), because they really just suck you in to the world that you’re trying to build. It’s a great way to relax and escape reality for a bit, though of course, it’s best done in moderation. Another type of game that I love are puzzles, especially of the match-three variety. So when I heard of Puzzle Craft, and how it combines both of these genres into one, I knew that I had to check it out. And wow, I am really impressed (and can’t stop playing).

To start a new game, you will have to create your village. Once you name your settlement, the game will provide you with a tutorial of how the game works. Basically, you will farm and mine to collect resources to build the rest of your city.

Puzzle Craft by Chillingo Ltd screenshot

When you start out, you will just have a farm. With it, you can gather grain, chickens, grass, and wood by matching at least three of them at a time. To match items, just trace your finger over them — once you release, the materials will be gathered. You will need to collect a certain amount of an item before it counts as a whole unit. Mining is also a core part of the town, and you will do the same as on the farm, except you’ll be matching up units of dirt, stone, and metals. However, you will need to supply your miners with a minimum of 10 days worth of food, which are obtained from harvesting and other buildings.

If you are able to collect a certain amount of a resource, it can be converted into something else. For example, collecting 10 chickens will get a pig piece, or you can convert 10 wood blocks to a chicken. There are several new elements that you can unlock by amassing a number of one resource, so make sure to find them all in the farm and mine.

With the game’s quick tips, you’ll be guided on how to use your resources to build the proper structures to help your town grow. When you see what structures are available, you can quickly see what you can actually make by seeing what materials are needed. If you’re missing something, it will show up in red. The same applies for the tools and jobs. For the impatient, you can buy the tools, buildings, or people right away, but it will cost gold.

As you continue to work on your kingdom, you will earn experience points and level up. Gaining a level will unlock new things that you can build or collect. Additionally, buildings can produce experience and items for you to use after a certain amount of time. Some can make more resources appear while gathering in the puzzle mode.

Puzzle Craft by Chillingo Ltd screenshot

Part of the fun of the game is that there is always something to do, as long as you have the resources or the funds to do so. Harvesting will require money, but mining will call for food, and buildings will need iron — it’s a chain. If you are out of gold and don’t want to wait until you have to collect taxes or tools from buildings, you can buy currency through in-app purchases. I wish this wasn’t the case since it is a paid game to begin with, but that seems to be the way for iOS games nowadays.

As you grow your kingdom, you can see stats about it by tapping in the corner. Along with all of your stats will be your total points and high score, which will be used in Game Center leaderboards. There are also 45 achievements to get, so replay value is no problem here.

At first, the game starts off slow, as you would expect from any simulation game. But as you get the ball rolling, it’s quite hard to put this down. I love the fact that it combines two of the most addictive types of games into one, so it’s just that much more enjoyable.

If you are a fan of simulation and puzzle games, then don’t hesitate to pick this one up today.

Now, I need to get back to harvesting, so excuse me …